Novel: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published: January 1st, 2012 Pamela Dorman Books/ Viking
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
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Synopsis: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
‘Jesus Christ,’ said my father. ‘Can you imagine? If it wasn’t punishment enough ending up in a ruddy wheelchair, then you get our Lou turning up to keep you company.’ ‘Bernard!’ my mother scolded. Behind me, Granddad was laughing into his mug of tea.
I bought this book because I’d heard so many people raving about it. It seemed like an incredible contemporary read, even though everyone kept saying that I should have a box of tissues nearby while I read. I was a bit hesitant going in to this because of the amazing things I’d heard. Often, having high expectations about a book before starting it doesn’t really work out for me. I’m happy to say though, that this was an exception.
Me Before You is the story of Lou and Will. I’m not quite sure where to start in my description of their characters.
Lou is a woman whose dreams never really included leaving her tiny little town. In fact, she is content working as a waitress in this tiny diner every day. I don’t really think she has any ambitions or dreams to fulfil. She still lives at home, contributing part of her wage to her parents for the house and food. She has been in a relationship with her boyfriend Patrick for a long time, and he’s a guy crazy for sports. I mean, it’s literally the only thing he talks about. The only thing she sets herself apart with from the beginning, are her clothes. She loves her crazy-coloured outfits.
Will is a different story. He used to have it all. A hard worker, earning incredible amounts of money in London. He loves travelling and trying extreme sports. Like bungee jumping. That was all taken away when he had a motorcycle accident. Now he is a quadriplegic. Losing all of that has made Will into a bitter and angry shadow of his former self -which let’s be honest, we all understand.
The story takes off when Lou loses her job as a waitress. She’s desperately looking for a new job, but she doesn’t have any real qualifications seeing as she never really went to university and has only ever worked as a waitress. So she ends up taking a job as one of Will’s caretakers -obviously, not a medical one, she’s nowhere near qualified for that.
At first. I kind of hated Will. He was so absolutely mean to Lou! To be honest, I don’t think I’d be acting much different if I were in that situation. One of the things I love most about this story is that it shows us just how much of an impact one person can have on someone’s life. Will and Lou slowly get along better and they honestly improve each other’s life so much.
I don’t really want to say too much about where this story goes, because that’s a journey you need to go on yourself. But I will say that sometimes, we need someone else to show us what’s lacking in our lives, what we are missing out on. Lou needed someone to shake up her life, to show her that she can do so much more if she tries! And Will… Will needed to see that he has not lost everything.
There were many interesting side characters as well. Such as Lou’s sister. I have quite mixed feelings about her. Sometimes, I thought she was selfish. Lou was giving up so much so her sister could do them. Like going to uni. But other times, I understood that if she didn’t, she’d be stuck in that house just like Lou was. Then there’s Lou’s parents. I don’t quite know how I feel about them either. They seem to put Lou down so often. Like they don’t believe in their own daughter. Of course, there’s Patrick as well, Lou’s boyfriend. I don’t really know why she is with him. Out of convenience? Because they don’t seem to have a lot in common. Or anything at all really. I also want to have a quick word about Will’s parents. I can’t imagine having to deal with their situation. In a way, it’s sort of like losing your son. Because he’s not the person you raised any more -and I don’t just mean physically. I don’t like the father. I think he’s kind of a disgusting person.
Writing all of my thoughts on these characters, I realized that one of this book’s strongest suits is that it shows you that life is a grey area. No one is completely good or evil. We all have our strong sides and positive ones. But we all do “bad” things too. We’ve all hurt someone, even if we never meant to. Sometimes we need to be a bit selfish, because if we’re not, we’ll never get anywhere in life.
Honestly, I highly recommend this story. Even if you’ve never really read adult fiction before. I think this is a great place to start! It’s an honest and real story, and I kid you not, it will leave you sobbing like a baby.